Photo: TS Sim, Pentax Professional Photographer.
A couple of years ago, someone once said to me that trial & error can make or break a photographer’s career. Back then, I did not really understand what that means until many years later after I got much deeper into the photography industry and probably staying long enough to experience it myself. This is a learning path taken by many in the industry and some live by this mandate till today. I came to know one such professional photographer recently – a very successful one to be exact.
Master Sim Tiak Siew – better known as TS Sim by the photography industry and professional circle, is one such example. Master Sim started photography in 1995 upon his graduation from NAFA. It all happened when he was asked to do a makeover shoot for a hair salon. According to him, it did not require much skills from him then but rather, it gave him a new platform to communicate with people and by doing that, he built his confidence for the long photography career ahead in years to come. And through some trials & errors, he explored many shooting techniques and he even learned and gained a deep understanding of hair styling and makeup.
He left a year later and joined a publisher whom published Marie Claire, The Peak and few other magazines. Sim shared that since he never started in photography with any professional studio, operationally he faced tons of difficulties as he had to figure out (all by himself) – all the technical aspects of photography which he was never taught professionally by anyone. And as fate has it, it is also due to this very reason that everything that Sim learned, he learned it from all the mistakes he made through these “on-the-job-experimentations”.
“There is no better way to learn something than to learn through the mistakes you made”,
When asked about his area of photography expertise, Sim shared that he does not specialize in any genre as an in-house photographer, Sim was required to shoot portraits, fashion, beauty, products, interior, food and even events! In short, everything! Sim stayed on in the publishing industry as an in-house photographer for a span of 8 years until he decided to start sim4nee photography in year 2003. He later shared with me about his love for shooting people – which explains why portraits and fashion is what Sim does these days.
Sim look for inspirations from everything around him. Culture, color, music, movie or even certain event (or rather story) would inspire him to transform his vision into a visual art.
A Nikon user by default (influenced by his brother who owns a Nikon FM2 then), he owns many other cameras including both digital and film format, from digital compacts to large format cameras. When asked if he has a dream camera that he wish to own one day, he admittedly shared that he is after the sexy Pentax 645D, a digital medium format camera. And he pick Pentax over other brands is because Pentax is within reach and it produces wonderful photos at a friendly price.
Sim is also a fan of Sigma brand lenses like the 50mm F1.4 that gained cult status across the world and this lens changed his perception of 3rd party brand lenses. He is also planning to purchase Sigma’s latest cult lens which is the new Art line 35mm F1.4. For high end compacts, Sim is in love with the Sigma DP Merrill Series cameras.
“The superior image produced by the DP Merrill series of cameras, I have never seen any like this or any other camera that can produce such amazing quality of images which is so full of details.”
Giving thanks to APD Singapore, this is how he got introduced and gotten to try out the Pentax digital system. Sim shared that all the Pentax cameras has one thing in common, That is, the way the Pentax sensor render skin tone. As a professional portrait photographer, this is also the very reason that helped Sim made up his mind to get a Pentax 645D (or upgraded version) in the near future.
On a lighter note, I asked Sim if he is not a professional photographer today, what will he be? With that signature poker face of his, he replied “Architect”.
Not letting him off easily, I ask him if he has any tips for our readers here. Here’s what Master Sim said;
“Take your time, experiment with different genres before you decide what to do, do not follow what seems to be money making genre, you have to be really happy with what you do, fantastic if you like what you do and making money at the same time. But if you just do it for money’s sake then like many other people say, you are just a camera man producing images with no soul – and you’d probably give up sooner than you think.”
Photo by TS Sim.
“For beginners, experiment in different genres, but better join a lot of photography workshops if you can afford the time & money. There wasn’t any workshop available when I started photography but today is different, there will always be something for you to learn and shoot especially from the internet. Lastly, and the most important thing, shoot a shit load of photo!”
Thank you Master Sim for sharing so much with our readers! I am sure you will be a good source of inspirations to photographers from all levels. For the rest of you here reading this – you heard the man.
PENTAX RICOH IMAGING CORPORATION was originally founded in 1919 under the name Asahi Optical Joint Stock Co. In the 1950s, launched the first SLR camera, the Asahiflex I, and the company haven’t stopped since. From the Asahi PENTAX single-lens reflex camera to the Spotmatic and to our most recent K-5IIs and incredibly tiny Q10, Pentax empowers and inspired photographers around the world.
For information on Ricoh, click here.
About APDS (Exclusive Distributor for Singapore)
Audio & Photo Distributor (Far East) Pte. Ltd. formerly known as MHE Consumer (S) Pte. Ltd was founded in 1973.
Since its inception Audio & Photo has had been the distributor of many well-known international consumer brands such as Konica cameras from Japan, Kenwood and Nakamachi hi-fi products from Japan, and Metz flash and accessories, Rollei cameras and Jos Schneider enlarging/professional lenses from Germany, to name a few.
Currently Audio & Photo Distributor is the sole distributor of Pentax & Ricoh cameras from Japan . With over 35 years of marketing experience and history, Audio & Photo has developed a strong network of dealers located islandwide in Singapore with whom it enjoys close rapport and support.
Audio & Photo Distributor (FE) Pte Ltd bides by its belief that it exists because of the customer, and therefore it will always strive to serve the needs of its customers with full dedication and commitment.